Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Don't be so quick as to say that Matthew McConaughey is "back"... he never really left, but rather made some terrible movie choices and had a run of taking his shirt off to entice the female audience. What is probably the truest thing to say about him is that when he gets a character that has depth and personality it is where he is the strongest. This is where "The Lincoln Lawyer" shines; with complex characters portrayed by Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe the movie is able to deliver on the courtroom drama that has been missing recently in the theaters due to the over saturated TV titles.

Michael Connelly continues his strong presence in the courtroom drama with his novel "The Lincoln Lawyer". This is the second of his books to be made into a movie with the other being "Bloodwork" in 2002. The character development is a strength in "The Lincoln Lawyer" and is a signature of Michael Connelly. The fans of his writing are going to be clamoring for follow-up movies featuring Matthew McConaughey portraying Mickey Haller in "The Brass Verdict", "The Reversal", or "The Fifth Witness". Working with the young director Brad Furman he was able to influence the movie making process in just the right ways and the jury is still out if the other books will have their time in the theater.

In "The Lincoln Lawyer" Mickey Haller has a reputation for being the guy that you go to when you need a defense attorney that can get you what you need. He is asked a couple times in the movie by his peers how he is able to defend the low life scum and his response isn't that he is defending them but that he is fighting the system. A system where the district attorney may try to attach extra charges to a case without the proper evidence is what Mickey Haller views as an injustice that he is fighting. At first the case that he has taken appears to be an easy one with the convincing plea of innocence from Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe). However, as the investigation from Frank Levin (William H Macy) uncovers evidence that conflicts with the beliefs of Mickey Haller the skills he carries into the courtroom are tested.

At times the movie wants to be "Primal Fear" with the deception and twists. Other times the movie wants to be "A Few Good Men" with the colorful witnesses that are called to the stand. The movie does drag towards the end as it wraps up the loose ends and is rather forgettable. This movie doesn't shine in any way, but is decent enough to earn all 3 Quacks.

(screening date 3/14/11, release date 3/18/11, location Mazza Gallerie)

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